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  We are here: News- Bee Buzz | Ethiopia’s Sweet Buzzes - Africa’s Bee Pride!

Ethiopia envisions to be a leading producer and exporter of quality bee products that contributes to household and national economy.

It has a huge, and largely untapped potential in the apiculture sector which contributes to employment generation, livelihood improvement, biodiversity and environmental protection as well as export commodity diversification.

The country's different agro-ecology and rich botanical diversity made it favourable for beekeeping activity which has been culturally practiced for centuries.

 

There are about 7000 flowering plant species many of which are used as bee forages. Vast and extended areas in Ethiopia have been rehabilitated through the Sustainable Land Management Program (SLMP) and the nationally protected 58 forest priority areas in the country providing much more opportunity to further expand beekeeping business.

The country is known for having the largest number of honey bee colonies in Africa estimated at about 10 million.

Honey production and consumption in Ethiopia also does have a cultural background. Tribes like the Mejenger in Ethiopia developed a tradition of beekeeping and harvesting honey from wild colonies, and to these people the production and sale of honey and beeswax has been a form of livelihood. Much of the honey produced in Ethiopia is locally consumed, mainly in the form of local 'wine' called 'Tej'. In the old ages when technology was not yet developed, people were using honey for medication. They were using honey as anti-bacterial infection to treat wounds of soldiers. Even today, people use honey to treat Asthma.

The honey and beeswax annual production potential of Ethiopia is estimated at 500,000 and 50,000 tons, respectively. Currently, the country produces over 64,000 tons of honey and 6,000 tons of beeswax that accounts for more than 25% of the production in Africa.

Today, beekeeping in Ethiopia has become a main area of income generation and employment creation especially for the youth and women.

The government of Ethiopia launched extension service for the smallholder beekeepers since late 1960's. But the efforts may not be as such aggressive and have not produced desired changes timely.

Accordingly, the apiculture sector in Ethiopia did not and still does not utilize its full potential because over 90% of colonies are still under traditional management with much less productivity; valuable hive products other than honey & beeswax are not yet produced in marketable volumes; Pollination role of bees is not well understood and the country exercises production of only less than 10% of the honey and beeswax potential.

To address this situation, nowadays there is a strong Ethiopian government commitment to improve and use the beekeeping sector to unleash its potential for employment generation, poverty alleviation and export commodity diversification.

The honey and beeswax annual production potential of Ethiopia is estimated at 500,000 and 50,000 tons, respectively. Currently, the country produces over 64,000 tons of honey and 6,000 tons of beeswax that accounts for more than 25% of the production in Africa.

To this effect, activities such as providing a decree to lay a scheme of registration and control of hazardous chemicals, passing of Apiculture Resources Development and Protection Proclamation (660/2009), encouraging and supporting of professional and business associations, endorsement of regulation No-372/2016 by the Ministerial Council for implementation of the Proc.No. 660/2009, establishment and strengthening of quality assurance related institutions like ESA (Ethiopian Standards Authority), ECAE (Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Enterprise), FMHACA (Food, Medicine and Health Administration and Control Authority), launching of MSc program in some Universities on Apiculture, expansion of bee research centres across the country, efforts on expanding better extension services/outreach to improve beekeeping system, facilitating conditions for existence of synergic public and private stakeholders are major achievements made so far to strengthen the apiculture sector.

Furthermore, sector promotion and marketing efforts sensitized, convinced and encouraged some other development partners in the country to recognize the potential of beekeeping sector and its role in addressing development objectives of the country, and started to invest in the sector development interventions to contribute for the achievement of the desired changes. This is a significant achievement by itself that can result with significant synergic development efforts for more and accelerated sector improvement.

The VCD (value chain development) efforts by some of such dedicated partners produced three apiculture sector associations, namely: Ethiopian Apiculture Board (EAB), Ethiopian Honey and Beeswax Producers and Exporters Association (EHBPEA) and Ethiopian Society of Apiculture Science (ESAS) - established at national level to promote the sector and support development efforts in the country.

Since its establishment, the EAB is working hard in promoting and marketing the sector; coordination and facilitation of regional and national multi-stakeholders platforms (MSPs) to discuss issues and opportunities; to improve production and productivity; facilitation of market linkages, establishment of quality infrastructures, input production and supply chain, networking among the sector actors, providing technical support for project implementations... etc.

Following the ApiExpo Africa 2012 hosted and organized held in Ethiopia and spearheaded by Ethiopian Apiculture Board (EAB), many other development partners understood the potential of the country and the role that could be played by the beekeeping sector to serve multiple development objectives of the country.

On the other hand, organic production system certification, Fair Trade, ISO and HCCP process certifications are in place for numbers of potential producing areas, and companies establish processing units in growing numbers. Because of such efforts, positive results have been achieved - that

Ethiopia is one of the few African countries in the EU Third Country Listing for Honey Export since 2008. The Residue Monitoring Plan (RMP), basis for the Third Country Listing, has been conducted on yearly basis by which the country's EU listing has been renewed.

Continued development efforts in the sector resulted in the publication of the Api-Business Directory of Ethiopia for easy connection of the sector actors; quarterly publication of the Api-News for sector update and knowledge sharing, infrastructure to ensure quality production; extended and improved extension services and research activities; honey sector development strategy; sector related curricula for higher level education, and the national apiculture development project called ASPIRE (Apiculture Scaling up Programme for Income Rural Employment). A number of important policy frame works have been designed and endorsed by the government to promote the sector.

Such coordinated development efforts undertaken in the last decades and shining results registered in the sector makes the apiculture sector prospects in Ethiopia undoubtedly bright and attractive. However, for full utilization of the huge sector potential, much more is needed to be done strategically. Hence, the need for present investment, coordinated development efforts and systematic collaborative actions are in demand.

Ethiopia is one of the few African countries in the EU Third Country Listing for Honey Export since 2008. The Residue Monitoring Plan (RMP), basis for the Third Country Listing, has been conducted on yearly basis by which the country's EU listing has been renewed.

The major challenges of the Ethiopian apiculture sector include: unimproved bee management by scattered small scale beekeepers, financial and skilled labor shortage to provide improved extension services for the beekeepers, infrastructure problems for traceability and quality assurance.

Ethiopia uses its rich experience and potential in the apiculture sector by designing effective strategic plans to achieve its vision to be a leading producer and exporter of quality bee products to international markets. However, much more coordinated and systematic approaches are still required to ensure rapid development of the sector for the advantage of the smallholder producers in Ethiopia and consumers elsewhere.

Besides, much attention has to be given in the research and implementation of private sector led sizeable apiculture sector development programmes which follows a market driven value chain development (VCD) approach.

Ethiopian government is working hard to boost production, ensure food security and improve its economy. Food security is not only a matter of producing grains but also refers to financial power to purchase grains. Since products obtained from honeybees are of high value products, the income generated through sales of honey and beeswax is significant and sufficiently high to purchase grains for family consumption.

Bees are vital. On top of their direct benefits with regard to food security, they provide environmental and apitheraupic services. Therefore, as a part of our beekeeping sector development efforts, we are planning two events in order to address this context: an APIMONDIA Symposium here in Addis Ababa in 2018 - it will directly address the role of insects specifically bees in the context of pollination, and food security in a wider sense. We will also bid for the execution of the 2023 APIMONDIA Congress in Ethiopia: showing best practices, alerting the actors, changing the course of events that have put bees, our environment and food security at risk.

Therefore, all the WORLD BEEKEEPING community members are cordially invited to be part of the next APIMONDIA Symposium that will be held in the 'natural home of bees', in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from November 30th to December 4th, 2018. You are most well come!!!

To participate in the symposium and/or to be engaged in apiculture business in Ethiopia contact us:

 


 
   
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